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Bald Eagle

Dear readers,

It would seem as if I’ve dropped off the planet in these past two months.  Despite the long break from blogging, I assure you that I have been busy creating artwork.  I have also been devoting a lot of time to building a website at last.

In honor of the 4th of July, I decided to share with you my newest drawing.  I haven’t drawn a bald eagle for years, and it has been on my to-do list for quite some time.  I don’t usually enjoy drawing birds, but I was so pleased by how much I enjoyed this drawing.  It made the process pure fun.

Bald Eagle

– 8×10 inch Ampersand scratchboard.

– I used mostly a #11 X-Acto Blade for this, and used two sizes of fiberglass brush to really whiten the light areas.  I also used Faber-Castel Pitt Artist pens for adding depth of value and also to correct mistakes.

Bald Eagle CR

A few close-ups.

Thank you for looking, and happy Independence Day!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2016 in All Artwork, Scratchboard

 

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Anniversary Present

Dear readers,

It has been a long time since my last post, but a number of unexpected things have happened that have kept me both from blogging and from artwork.  However, I am back again, and I am here to share with you something that I’ve kept a secret since I first thought up the idea back around March of this year.  My parents celebrated their 35th anniversary on September 13th.  Since it was a milestone year for them, I wanted to make some kind of artwork for them that would be meaningful.  I came across several beautiful poems that likened parents to the roots of a tree, the strong, steady foundation that holds everything together.  I liked that idea very much.  It inspired me to start working on a poem of my own, personalized to mean as much to my mom and dad as possible.  I had to work in complete, delicious, secrecy.  They are so involved in what I create and what I’m up to in my studio, so I had to go to great effort to keep this a secret.

It all started when I went to Junk Bonanza last April.  I went with my mom, but I had a secret agenda.  I wanted to find something with a 35 on it, or even letters to spell Happy Anniversary.  I knew it would be tricky to buy it when she was right there with me, but I was determined.

I came across a booth that had many small metal numbered tags, post office tags, cattle tags, you name it.  Under the guise of searching for “junk supplies for my sculptures”, I began to look quite thoroughly.  Luckily for me, my mom said she was going to move on to the next booth while I looked.  And then I found it!  A metal tag with a 35 on it.  And not only that, but above the 35 were the two letters H and W.  How perfect could it be?  H for Husband, W for Wife, and a 35.  Awesome!  Just so my mom wouldn’t wonder what I had bought, I purchased a few other little items so she wouldn’t single out that one tag.

And here it is.

024 CR 1

Early in the summer, as soon as the leaves were full on the trees, I went for camera walks, getting pictures of our trees to go with some sort of tree poem.  The tree that has the most sentimentality for our family is the enormous maple tree that is in our front yard, towering over our house.  It’s been a part of our lives for a long time.  My dad remembers stringing up a tire swing in it as a kid, and my brothers and I used to play in a tire swing from that very tree, and now, my parents’ grandkids have two tire swings hanging in that tree, too.  It’s a trusty old tree, complete with wooden board “steps” nailed onto it from my childhood.

As you can imagine, I decided that this was the tree to draw.  As I photographed it, I included the house, which was build in 1926.  My brothers and I grew up in it, and my dad and his brothers and sisters, and even his dad and his brother.  It’s got so much history and so many memories for us all.  I couldn’t draw that tree without this beloved house nestled beneath it, so my plans were made.

I started the drawing on June 17th.

The drawing is clayboard, just the second clayboard I’ve done.  It’s a big drawing, as I wanted it to be dramatic for Mom and Dad’s wall.  Keeping it very secret, I worked on it only when they were nowhere near, and I had to cleverly hide the drawing, the supplies, and all other evidence that I was working on anything in my studio.

Meanwhile, I spent several nights up late in bed, writing and rewriting the poem I wanted to give to them with the drawing.  I found some amazing tips on how to paint letters neatly on a wooden board, and I got started on that.  I mixed a couple of ideas I found online for sign-painting to get the result I wanted.  I painted the board black (just an old board that was in the basement…I sanded it fairly smooth first), and then printed the poem on regular printer paper in the font I liked.  I then took a white charcoal pencil and colored the backs of the papers generously.  After checking, re-checking, re-checking, and re-checking the alignment of the papers on the board (it took 4 sheets of paper to get the lettering big enough to fill the board), I taped them in place.  I then took a ball point pen and wrote over the words firmly, causing the white charcoal to transfer onto the wood.  When I lifted the papers, I was so surprised by how neat it looked!  I then took a cream-colored acrylic paint, diluted it quite a bit, and painted the letters using mostly a 00 paint brush.  It took quite some time, but I was really pleased with the result!

Ah, but the wooden sign didn’t take long at all compared to the drawing.  A clayboard is essentially an un-inked scratchboard…it is simply white clay on a Masonite board.  You add the ink (or paint or whatever else you’d like) yourself as you wish.  I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens for this project, using mostly brush tip for the application of inks.  Anything on the board that is not white had to be inked over first.  I used a variety of grays and blacks to get the desired values in this drawing.

The house part of the drawing was by far the most challenging.  I definitely do not have a mathematical brain, and all of these angles and corners and straight lines were certainly out of my comfort zone.  I spent many hours (days, even) with a straight edge and a pen, drawing and re-drawing all of those squares and lines and shapes over and over until I finally felt things were in place.  I then got to work building values, which was done using shades of gray pens.  The beauty of clayboard is that you can draw in the traditional sense, but you can push it further by treating it like a scratchboard.  You can take your X-Acto knives, your blades, your fiberglass brushes, and you can scratch away the ink.  It’s a beautiful thing! 🙂

I am happy to say that my parents were both completely unaware I was working on anything.  I never thought I could keep this a secret all summer long.  I was so excited to give this to them, and they seemed pretty excited to get it, too. 🙂

Anniversary Present

– The clayboard drawing measures 16 x 20 inches in size.  It is made with a set of Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens (the Manga set of 8), some other very fine pens for detail and texture, a couple of different X-Acto knives, a fiberglass brush, some other scratchboard tools, and steel wool to remove smudges or marks in larger areas.

– The wooden sign is made with just an old board that was in the basement (note the hole in the upper left corner), sanded, and painted with black acrylic paint.  White charcoal, printer paper, and tape for the lettering, and cream-colored acrylic paint for the poem.  I sealed the board with a satin varnish.

Ok, at long last, here are the pictures.  Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to photograph something this large without getting some shadow and lighting issues.  The photos do not do this drawing justice, but they were about the best I could do.  I did not take one single progress photo – I couldn’t afford any evidence to be found! 😉

The drawing.

001 EDIT - CR

A few close-ups.

016 - CR 017 - CR 020 - CR 022 - CR 023 - CR

The poem.  (Click to view larger.)

024 CR

And the finished, framed, and displayed artwork as it looks on the wall.

024 CR 2

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.  I love you both so much!

 
 

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Ashley for the Arts 2015

Dear readers,

Well, I’ve taken a little break from blogging since my art show back on the 7th and 8th of August.  It was a great show, and I enjoyed it very much!  I thought I’d share some photos from my tent display.  This is just my 3rd art show so far, but I hope to do more of them in the future.  They are a lot of work, but also such great fun!  I met some wonderful people, both fellow artists with their own work at the show, and the visitors who came to explore the art fair.

If you happened to attend Ashley for the Arts (located in Arcadia, WI) and visited my tent, I want to say thank you for looking at my work!  I hope you enjoyed what I do, and please remember that I would be very happy to draw your old family snapshots by offering Ancestry Art, or also would be happy to draw your beloved pet.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me at   indee.artist.jen88@hotmail.com   if you’re interested!

And now, on to the show! 🙂

It was pretty windy as we set up on Friday, but it calmed down, and the weather was perfect after that for both days.  This was my first two-day show, so there were some new challenges faced, but it was a good experience.

Since my first art show, I’ve changed a few things.  I invested in some pretty curtains to give my tent more personality and character, and also to make it feel like a store instead of just a tent.  Some displays are new since my first show, such as my Christmas art and card display, my Ancestry Art display, as well as some new shelves and boxes for my artwork.  I really wanted a timelessness in my display, so many of the items are reclaimed and old.  Since so many of my drawings are animals, especially farm animals, I like keeping my own family farm’s heritage here with some of the wood boxes that are from around my home.  I like to keep things cozy, so that people feel comfortable coming and going. The two black things up at the top inside the tent are fans, and they were so worth the investment!  They feel great on a hot day!

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Click to view this larger.

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This is my Ancestry Art display.  I am happy to say people seemed to respond to it well.

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This is my display for my photo notecards, as well as my fine art prints.

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My new sculpture display.  Some of these sculptures still need to be posted here on my blog.  I’ve fallen behind!

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My art wall, featuring all animals this time, since my drawings of people got their own feature in the Ancestry Art.

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This table is a new addition to my tent this year.  I wanted my newest drawing, the Draft Horse to have his own space.  I also had my scratchboard prints available on this table.  Yes, I now have scratchboard prints available at last! 🙂

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I hope you enjoyed this little taste of my art show.  I had a great time, and for those of you who visited, I hope you had a great time, too!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Odds and Ends (Uncategorized)

 

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Draft Horse Finished

At long last, after working on this for the last six months, I am finally calling this piece complete.  It was worth the time…I had a lot of fun with this drawing, and I’ve learned a lot, too.  The variety of textures in the reference made this very challenging, but as I’ve said before on this blog, I do love a challenge. 🙂

Draft Horse

– 8×8 inch Ampersand scratchboard.

– Tools used: Mostly an X-Acto Knife with a #11 blade, and also two sizes of fiberglass brush, and Faber-Castell Pitt pens.  I used the black pen for correcting mistakes, and various gray shades to add depth and dimension.  The leather and fabric textures were done by “whitening” out the shape with a fiberglass brush and X-Acto Knife, and then going over them with pale gray pens to obscure the individual marks and give the surface a soft, even texture.  In the leather parts, I went in stages.  White out, soften with pen, white out, soften with pen, and finally ended with bright, worn spots where they were needed.

Draft Horse Finished CR

Some close ups for those interested in seeing the details. 🙂

Draft Horse 12 - Finished - Crop 3 CR

Draft Horse 12 - Finished - Crop CR 2

Draft Horse 12 - Finished - crop CR

Thank you to everyone who followed along and commented along the way.  The company makes me happy.  I hope you’ll join me for the next work in progress!

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 8, 2015 in All Artwork, Scratchboard

 

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Draft Horse WIP 10

Here’s another update.  It’s been interesting trying to get the textures of the leather right.  This certainly has been a learning journey!  The leather needs to be toned down a bit in value, and things are a little messy at the moment.  The fiberglass brush makes big, streaky marks, so additional corrections and details need to come yet.  But it’s coming along.  I’ve got to finish this before my show in August.  I thought I’d have plenty of time.  Funny how a deadline can sneak up! 😉

Draft Horse WIP 10 - CR

Thanks for looking!

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in All Artwork, Scratchboard

 

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Draft Horse WIP 8

I was looking back in my journal last night and realized that I wrote about the day I started this draft horse drawing…it was way back in February.  Not sure why it’s taking so long with this drawing, but I don’t mind.  Just as long as I can get it done before my upcoming art show in August!

So, what else can I say about this drawing?  The neck is mostly in place, and now I’m working on the leather collar part.  The smooth texture is a bit difficult to get right with my X-Acto knife, so I’m using a fiberglass brush for that.  For anyone unfamiliar with this tool, this is what it looks like.  It’s a sort of fine sandpapery texture that rubs the ink off the scratchboard in a softer way than a blade.

fiberglass brush

I’m not thrilled with the way the leather and fabric looks, but with some more layers, I think it will get better.

Draft Horse WIP 8 - CR

I hope you like it.  Thanks for looking! 🙂

 
7 Comments

Posted by on June 3, 2015 in All Artwork, Scratchboard

 

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Draft Horse WIP 7

It’s time for another update on my draft horse.  I’m working on the neck now, which at first felt like a big, boring mass of one value, but as I have worked on it, the range of values seems quite varied.  It’s been fun.  Next thing comes all of the elaborate harnessing on the neck and chest.  Even though most of the horse is in place, there is still much to do in this drawing.

Draft Horse WIP 7 - CR

Thanks for looking. 🙂

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 25, 2015 in All Artwork, Scratchboard

 

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